Teachers

Laura

Laura Dacyshyn

Founder, Artistic Director & Principal Instructor

CDTA, ACTRA, EQUITY

Laura discovered her passion for dance at age 7 when she began studying ballet in Ancaster, ON. By 9 years old she was accepted into the prestigious National Ballet School where    she trained under the direction of Betty Oliphant and Mavis Staines. Laura continued her professional development with NBS and was invited to spend her summers working with Melissa Adamnova at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow and in New York City, training with a number of reputable teachers including David Howard, Gelsey Kirkland and Vladamir Dokudofsky.After graduating, Laura began dancing with The National Ballet of Canada and performed various roles in Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, La Sylphide, Don Quixote, Manon, Cinderella, The Merry Widow, Romeo & Juliet and The Concert. Eager to pursue her career in classical ballet, Laura then travelled extensively throughout Europe, studying with The Royal Danish Ballet and The Frankfurt Ballet.

In 2001, Laura started teaching and immediately realized her passion was in the studio working with children. She founded The Allegro School of Dance in 2002 and is presently the director and principal instructor. Her success as a teacher is proven year after year by the progress of her refined and motivated dancers. Several of her students have been accepted into professional dance schools and intensive Summer programs including The National Ballet School, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and Quinte Ballet. Laura has been instrumental in guiding her students’ success and fostering a deep sense of accomplishment and dedication to the artistry of dance. Indeed she is an award winning choreographer and several of her pieces have been acknowledged by reputable adjudicators and have received overall awards at festivals and competitions. Laura is also a supporter of giving back to our community. She has been very generous of her time and through recital ticket sales, donates yearly to a charitable organization which enhances our environment and provides much needed resources to ensure the precious artistry of dance is always appreciated.

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Katie Willhoeft

Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical

BFA - Dance

Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Katie was born with a passion for the arts and an innate desire to create. She began her dance education as a Competitive Performer in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary and musical theatre. She prides herself on having completed her Advanced II I.S.T.D Ballet Certificate, and Advanced ADAPT Jazz and Tap certificates. Upon completion of her BFA (honours) in Performance Dance from Ryerson University, Katie evolved her training onto the stage, and later into directing, teaching, and choreographing. She has had the privilege of working with incredible visionaries such as Nadia Potts, Darryl Tracy, Kenny Pearl, Vicky St. Denys, Courtnae Bowman, Donald Sales, and Allen Kaeja to name a few. She has had the opportunity to perform contemporary, commercial and theatrical work, starting her career as a principle dancer for Cadence Contemporary Ballet Company, and then went on to perform in musicals such as A Chorus Line, Guys and Dolls, Footloose, as well as various Broadway revues, festivals, and tv/film. Katie continues to share her artistic perspective by working with dancers from all over the GTA, and continues to participate in many workshops and classes with industry leaders to ensure that her knowledge and abilities continue to expand. Katie has won numerous choreography awards and special recognition for her creativity, and story-telling. She has an outstanding and proven reputation for compassionate, inspirational, yet challenging dance classes. Katie’s goal is to create a positive environment for her students to take chances both physically and emotionally.

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Kaitlyn Kowalyk

Creative Movement, Jazz, Lyrical, Conditioning

BFA - Dance

Kaitlyn began dancing at the age of 3 in Etobicoke, ON. She started with ballet and jazz and quickly began to pursue tap, lyrical and hip hop.  By age 6 Kaitlyn had the “dance fever” and began dancing competitively!  She continued with her training throug high school and also attended Cawthra Park Secondary School fine arts program where she majored in dance. Kaitlyn went on to The School of Toronto Dance Theatre for another three years of studies, which focused on further dance techniques in modern and contemporary choreography.  Following TDT, She furthered her education in dance at York University and currently holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (honours). This past year she successfully completed her Bachelor of Primary and Junior Education Studies, at Charles Stuart University. Kaitlyn’s education and dance teaching experience has deepened her understanding of child development, behavior and the learning process. Through acquiring such vast knowledge, Kaitlyn effectively creates an inclusive, inspiring and safe learning community where students feel valued and respected. She recognizes the unique interests and abilities of each of her students and fosters their individual growth, working in a cooperative team environment. Her love for choreography and her passion for working with children of all ages, has thoroughly prepared her for another successful year at Allegro School of Dance.

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Melody McGregor

Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Contemporary

BFA - Dance

Melody McGregor received her classical training at Canada’s National Ballet School and Quinte Ballet School in Bellville. During this time, she received her Intermediate certifications in both Cecchetti and RAD Ballet. After graduating, she attended Ryerson University and received her BA in Fine Arts, majoring in Dance. Since then she has diversified her training in Los Angeles, studying at a number of renowned studios including The Millennium Dance Complex. While in LA, Melody focused primarily on Hip Hop, Street Dance and Contemporary while still maintaining her foundation in Classical Ballet. Melody has worked with and has been trained by a number of reputable dancers, teachers and chorographers such as, Nadia Potts, Vicki St. Denys, Brian Friedman, Menina Fortunato, Christopher House, Martine Lamy, Roberto Campanella, Shawn Byfield, Mandy Moore, Kim McSwain, Robert Glumbeck, Christopher House and more.

Today as a teacher, her unique and creative choreography has won Melody many awards at both Regional and National levels in Canada and the USA. As well as being an accomplished dancer, instructor and choreographer, Melody is also a certified Can-Fit Pro Personal Training Specialist.

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Sarah Dowhun – BFA, ACSC—CICB, PBT, PAA, Fitness Instructor Specialist

Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical

BFA - Dance

Sarah Dowhun is a professional dance artist and educator. She has received her ballet teaching certification as an Associate of the Cecchetti Society of Canada (ACSC-CICB). She is a certified Fitness Instructor Specialist, certified in Conditioning with Imagery and the Progressing Ballet Technique Syllabus. Continuing her studies as well as working extensively within the programs of a number of studios has provided Sarah with insight to the fundamentals required by young dancers to dance safely at their various stages of development.

 

Originally from the Niagara Region, Sarah can be found performing, choreographing and teaching across the GTA and throughout Ontario. Having received her Honours Degree in Dance from York University, Sarah was introduced to a variety of ballet and modern styles and methodologies that have been instrumental in developing her critical eye for technique. During her time at York, Sarah trained with many esteemed faculty members including John Ottman, Julia Sasso, Claire Wooten, Helen Jones, Donna Krasnow and Carol Anderson.

 

Sarah has worked in the performance industry in numerous films (Maps to the Stars, LAN), television programmes (Reign, Warehouse 13/Jeff Dimitriou, Covert Affairs, Murder U) and music/conceptual videos (Hedley, Shawn Desman/Luther Brown, Of Us Giants/Alyssa Nedich, STIGMA/Jeff Dimitriou) as both a featured performer and an extra. Sarah also continues to appear in live stage productions (Hamilton Urban Theatre/Robert Desrosier, Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble/Vitek Wincenza/The Kiev Ballet, Bringing Tap Back/Everett Smith, Hamilton FrostBites Festival/To The Pointe Dance Project/Alyssa Nedich, Half Second Echo/Miles Gosse, Dance Ontario Dance Weekend/Jesse Dell, WhatsOn!?TAP!/Kim Chalovich).

 

Sarah is a founding member of Half Second Echo a Toronto based dance collective and also a regular performer and workshop facilitator with the Hamilton based To The Pointe Dance Project. Sarah’s choreography can be seen professionally as well as on the competitive circuit across Canada.

 

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Mary Louise Paterson

Ballet, Jazz, Creative Movement

BFA - Dance

Mary Louise began dancing at the age of 6 and by 9, she was invited to join the Competitive Dance Team at Allegro. While training, Mary Louise became a very versatile dancer by focusing on Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical,Hip Hop and Pointe. She was also fortunate to spend some time at Canada’s National Ballet School under the direction of Mavis Staines. In addition to her training at Allegro and Canada’s National Ballet School,Mary has worked with and continues to study with a number of respected teachers and choreographers including Kevin Pugh, Vicki St. Denys, Karen Deuplisea, Tanya Evidente and Lourdes Hernandez. Over the years, Mary has won numerous overall awards, dance pageant scholarships and special titles. As well, she has appeared on the Family Channel’s hit TV series “The Next Step”. She is currently attending the Ryerson University Theatre Program and is in the process of completing her BA in Fine Arts, majoring in Dance.

When she is not dancing or teaching, Mary volunteers her time at the Ontario Pioneer Camp, working with special needs children and running their dance program.

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Leah Totten

Hip Hop

Born and raised in small town in Quebec, Leah Totten’s dance journey began at the age of 14 studying hip hop, jazz, contemporary, ballet and breakdance at a local studio. She quickly fell in love with urban dance and moved to Toronto hoping to expand her knowledge and experience within the entertainment and art industry. Leah currently teaches at The Undergound Dance Centre in Toronto as well as Allegro. When she is not teaching, Leah choreographs for music videos while also running and directing her all-female hip hop company, ‘BOSS Dance Company’.

Leah has produced, directed and choreographed three successful full-length theatre shows in Toronto: ”Metamorphosis’ in 2016 at The Winchester Street  Theatre, ‘Querencia’ in 2015 at The Randolph Theatre and ‘The Renaissance Woman’ in 2014 at Factory Theatre.

Over the years, she has taught across Canada, USA and Europe in hundreds of dance institutions including Los Angeles, London, Poland, Romania, Ireland, Nottingham, Hungary, Scotland, Rhode Island, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, New Brunswick, Ottawa, and Quebec to name just a few.

Some of her more notable accomplishments include being a finalist for Monsters Of Hip Hop ‘Choreographers Cup’ in Los Angeles, working as an intern for Essence Dance Company (Gigi Torres), being featured as ‘Become The Next’ at Boogiezone University, as well as completed the ‘Creating Opportunities’ Program in NYC directed by Chonique Sneed and Lisette Bustamante. She is currently a member of the Rhythm 2 Dance Faculty and is also a sought after adjudicator with ample experience judging all genres of dance across North America. Her work continues to win overalls at competitions including the 1st place title at The Beatdown Hip Hop Dance Competition. 

Leah believes that dance is about so much more than “steps” and encourages anyone she comes across to find purpose and passion behind their movement. 

 

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Tatiana Trankvelitskaia

Classical Ballet

Tatiana Trankvelitskaia began her career as a ballerina at the world renowned Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Her talent was quickly recognized and by 19 years of age, she was promoted to Prima Ballerina status with the Musical Theatre of Opera and Ballet, Stanislavsky, Moscow. Her repertoire included principal roles in countless ballets such as Cinderella, La Sylphide, Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote and Giselle, to name just a few. The first time North America was introduced to the young Russian Prima was in 1972 when she was selected to perform for the then appointed President of the United States, Richard Nixon. In addition to this honour, she was also chosen to perform a solo performance for Her Majesty the Queen of Spain. During her career, Tatiana has captivated audiences, dancing lead roles and receiving standing ovations in France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, USA, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, India, Egypt, Spain and Canada. Tatiana was also named the face of Grishko Pointe Shoes and became the official logo model for the company. She has also worked in film and television and has been featured as a ballerina in numerous movies such as, The Widow of Valencia, Police Academy, The Miracle of a Portrait and many more.

Currently, Tatiana is living in Toronto and sharing her wealth of knowledge with students and professional dancers of all ages. She is excited to be working with the dancers at Allegro and we are even more excited to have her on staff as one our Competitive Ballet Teachers.

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Kelly Johnson

Acro

Kelly Johnson began training as a dancer and gymnast at the age of 6. Once realizing that she could combine her passion for both, she branched out and began to diversify herself in many dance forms including acro, jazz, tap, ballet, pointe, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop. Kelly continued her training at a competitive studio for 10 years and received many special and overall awards with her groups and as a soloist. Most recently, in 2012, Kelly furthered her studies at the Conteur Dance Academy in Toronto under the direction of Eryn Waltman. At this time she also received her intermediate level ballet exams with the Cecchetti Society of Canada.

Over the years, Kelly has had many performance opportunities including travelling to Greece to perform with Dance Dance Canada, performing in half-time shows for the NBA, and representing Canada on the 2010 Canadian Dance Show Team in Reisa, Germany. Some of Kelly’s more recent credits include Aleesia’s music video for “Time’s Up”, performing with the Rutherford Movement Exchange in the show “Ascension”, Chloe Charles’ video for “Refrain From Fire”, RiaToss’ “Marina Antoinette” and Christina Diguiseppe’s show “Infinite Continuum” to name just a few.

Today, Kelly continues to perform but has also developed a passion for teaching. She is an accomplished chorographer and has received various accolades for her work, including the “Captivating Choreography Award” and the “Young Choreographer Award”. Dance is Kelly’s life and passion, and she hopes that just as she did, her students will also develop wonderful memories and lasting friendships through their informative years in dance.

Laeticia Schoenfeld

Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop

Originally from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Laeticia Schoenfeld is an award winning choreographer and dance teacher who is RAD and ADAPT certified. As a young girl, she started out in Ukrainian dance but her interests quickly diversified into all forms of dance including ballet, jazz, lyrical and hip hop.
While attending University, Miss Laeticia began teaching dance but also went back to her roots and joined the Yevshan Ukrainian Folk and Ballet Troupe, dancing and touring with them for two years. During this time she also continued her training in New York City at the Broadway Dance Centre, The Harbour Dance Centre in Vancouver and also in Toronto at various studios geared toward professional dancers. As well, she cast in a number of dance documentaries and shows including a project called Dance For Camera which went on to win many awards at various festivals.
Today, as a dance instructor, Laeticia feels it is important to keep on top of her teaching by learning new techniques and gaining fresh ideas by attending dance conventions and workshops throughout Canada and the US. Laeticia encourages her students of all ages to share in her love for dance and thoroughly enjoys helping each of them to reach their maximum potential. We welcome Miss Laeticia back for her second year at Allegro and look forward to another fabulous season with her.